Don’t mistake this Audi Q8 as simply a coupe roofed version of their Q7 SUV, like Audi’s German rivals are known to do. Rather, it’s a whole new multi-purpose flagship. And why not, utilities are increasingly becoming a status symbol of choice for most luxury buyers. So, let’s get a taste of the high life in the Q8.
The 2019 Audi Q8 goes up against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, BMW X6, even the recently-launched Porsche Cayenne Coupe, with which the Q8 actually shares a chassis. And, if that chassis is good enough for the Bentley Bentayga as well, it’s good enough for us.
Unlike that Bentley, Audis have not been what you’d call beautiful lately; taking on a more combative/in your face tone over the last few years, that seems typical for our times as a whole. But, it does work, looking modern, classy, and expensive.
It’s all about the new roofline of course; as well as frameless doors, and steeper angle to the D-pillars and back glass. Wheelbase actually remains the same as the Q7, at 117.9-inches; but overall length is three inches less. Standard wheels are 20s; 22s optional
A singular engine choice, means the now-familiar Audi 3.0-liter V6 turbo, with 335-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. With mild-hybrid assist, it feels smooth and immediately powerful, just like V8s did not long ago; but we wouldn’t complain if they were to eventually offer an actual V8.
Quattro all-wheel-drive is standard, as is an 8–speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.
The Q8 may be one digit higher in name than the Q7, but the number of seats here is two fewer, making it a 5-passenger utility; though even with the sloping roof design, headroom in the rear seats remains quite good.
Cargo space does suffer a little bit, but less than we expected; still 30.5 cubic-ft. in back, expanding to 60.7 with the rear seatbacks folded.
No big surprises throughout the rest of the interior; it obviously shares the new twin screen setup in the center; which is a step back in our opinion, but not enough to sour our overall love for the environment. We just find operating the lower touchpad panel a bit distracting from the main task at hand, which is of course driving.
And when doing that, you’ll notice the Q8 is supremely quiet inside, and the ride quality here is equally sublime; comfortable without feeling plush or overly firm. Visibility is also better than most coupe-ish models on the road today.
Audi was one of the first to offer a full digital cockpit gauge display, and it remains one the best as well. Steering feel and feedback are not only better than most luxury utilities, but better than a few sport sedans as we can think of.
All more impressive when you consider it’s ruddering 5,000-lbs. of luxury that’s riding on super-low profile 22–inch tires.
You do get a sense of width when going down the road; but when whipping in and out of cones, it feels small, and nimble.
Quattro has a 60/40 rear bias in most driving conditions, but can pretty much shuffle any amount of power anywhere when needed. It’s virtually undetectable where power is going anyway; so just sit back, relax, and enjoy the benefits.
An available Adaptive Chassis package adds full air suspension as well as rear-wheel steering. It all works together to make lateral grip high, and body roll minimal. It’s a quite serene experience actually…unless that is, you mash the gas and let it rip.
It’s an easy launcher, with good power and grip; getting us to 60 in just 5.7-seconds. It doesn’t feel overly muscular; just smooth and efficient with seamless shifts throughout the ¼-mile, which we completed in 14.1-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.
A 118-foot average stopping distance from 60 is pretty good for a luxury utility, but we did experience a little more fade than expected.
Standard Audi Pre-Sense will apply the brakes for you at speeds up to 52 miles-per-hour if a potential collision with another car, object, or even a pedestrian is detected.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 17-City, 22-Highway, and 19-Combined; with our average right on, at 19.8 miles-per-gallon on Premium. That’s a worse than average Energy Impact Score; responsible for 17.3-barrels of oil consumption and 7.8-tons of CO2 emissions annually.
Being a niche flagship vehicle, base pricing of $68,395 seems more than reasonable. Even top level Prestige starts at just $77,545.
So whether you look at it as true luxury flagship, or just another space compromised coupe of an SUV, the 2019 Audi Q8 is the best of what Audi has to offer, taken to a higher level. And as the luxury world transitions from sedans to SUVs, it looks like Audi is well situated to continue delivering the luxury goods better than most.
Engine: 3.0 liter
Torque: 369 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.1 seconds @ 98 mph
EPA: 17 mpg city / 22 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 17.3 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.8 tons/yr